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With headquarters in New York City, Blue Apron aims "to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone." Their approach to meal delivery is quite different from the reheat-at-home, precooked foods you might see with competitor services. Instead, Blue Apron ships refrigerated boxes of fresh-from-the-farm ingredients so that aspiring home cooks can not only bring healthier, more flavorful food to the table, but also add more recipes and skills to their own repertoires. Given that Blue Apron sends out more than 8 million meals per month, across the nation, they're definitely doing something right.
Right from the start, you'll be able to indicate your dietary preference. Omnivore? Pescatarian? Vegetarian? No problem. All of the meals in your delivery will fit those criteria. You also have the ability to specify if there's a particular meat - lamb, pork, poultry, beef, shellfish, or fish - that you don't want included in your recipes. You'll never get the same recipe twice in a calendar year, and all of Blue Apron's ingredients come to you pre-measured, from the spices to the shallots. This service does focus on lunch- or dinner-type entrees, so you won't find breakfasts, desserts, or sides.
There are two less-than-customizable aspects to Blue Apron's meal delivery: the recipes and the number of servings. Unlike most of their competitors, this service does not allow you to select what recipes you'll receive, so whether you absolutely love or hate a particular meal, you may or may not see it in your delivery. Also, since all of Blue Apron's plans consist of either 2- or 4-serving configurations, you could wind up with a lot of leftovers if your family is small - or not enough to go around if yours is large.
One of the most common complaints about Blue Apron used to be their prices - so we were happy to see that, over the past year, they've worked hard to make their meals more affordable:
You may also find savings offered via pop-ups; when we visited the Blue Apron site and browsed for a while, we eventually got a discount offer of "$50 off, spread over [our] next two orders, if we ordered within the next 30 minutes.
All of Blue Apron's meal delivery plans are commitment-free: skip any weeks you choose (like when you go on vacation) and cancel your plan at any time. You can also choose the delivery date that works best for you; with all shipping boxes coming with cold packs, you don't even need to be home when your delivery comes.
Blue Apron has some definite positives. When we received our meal delivery, we were impressed with the quality of the ingredients - absolutely nothing generic or cut-rate, from the fresh vegetables to the canned beans. This company emphasizes recipes that use in-season ingredients, making for a fresher, healthier eating experience. Every recipe we received was simple to prepare, with clearly-labeled ingredients and well-written instructions. And, the final products were all winners; we wanted to keep every recipe for future use.
But, for customers who are looking for premade convenience or who don't have access to a traditional kitchen, Blue Apron isn't the right fit. It's definitely a service for people who want to cook, but need some help in the inspiration department without the hassle of selecting recipes and shopping for the ingredients.
Plated isn't your average meal delivery service. While they definitely can save you time and bring healthy meals to your table, their main goal is helping you become a more confident cook by expanding your culinary knowledge and maybe even your palate too. Every weekly menu includes choices like Steak Gyros, Salmon with Salsa Verde, or even desserts like Napoleons or Fig Shortcakes - all with fresh ingredients and simple instructions that lead to a finished product in an hour or less.
To get started, you'll need to decide how many servings you want per meal (2, 3, or 4), and how many nights per week (2, 3, or 4) you'd like to have a Plated entree on your menu. For a family of two that only wants two meals delivered each week, the price is usually $47.80. On the larger end of the spectrum, getting four 4-serving meals per week is typically priced at $159.20. At the time of our review, there was a promotion offering a 25% discount on the first week of meal delivery.
Plated doesn't give you a specific plan for your service - in other words, you won't find options for a menu that includes just vegetarian options, or gluten-free foods, and so forth. Instead, you'll choose among 20 different recipes (including dessert) from each week's menus. But, you can tailor your subscription to show you choices that meet your preferences (such as dessert-seeker, seafood lover, omnivore, and so on) from those 20 possibilities.
Plated has one of the widest delivery day ranges we've seen: every day but Sunday. Your box should stay cold until midnight on your selected day of the week, so there's no need to rush home from work to stick things in the fridge. As with comparable services of this type, your delivery includes everything you need to create your selected meal or dessert choices, including seasonal produce and specialty items that you might not even have at your local supermarket.
On the other hand, Plated has one of the most disappointing customer satisfaction policies we've seen with a meal delivery service: if you are dissatisfied or something is missing from your delivery, Plated "may, at [their] sole discretion, issue a credit." We found more than a few customers ranting how their delivery included moldy food, and Plated's answer was to give them a credit for just $12. Plus, many reviews of the Plated service said that the recipes were "just okay" and the ingredients weren't nearly as premium as they'd expect from a meal delivery company.
Another frequently-mentioned issue with Plated is their gift cards. Unfortunately, gift card recipients have to enter their credit card information to use their gift credit - and some of them then found themselves subscribed as a paying customer to a service they never wanted. That's not a great way to keep gift-givers happy.
Compared with other meal delivery services, Plated has a few unique features. But, their track record is definitely less-than-impressive, especially when looking at their refund policy (or lack of it). You'll probably find a meal delivery plan that's better to you and for you by selecting a service with a higher rating.
Best Meal Delivery
To help you find the Best Meal Delivery, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Blue Apron and Plated.
Who is the best Meal Delivery company? Are you looking for a way to simplify dinner after a long day at work? Using a meal delivery service has become an easy way of getting nourishing, flavorful food on the table without the hassle of grocery shopping.
Of course, the most popular reason for using a meal delivery company is the convenience. Customers love being able to order their favorite entrees, side dishes, or even appetizers and desserts, and to choose how much cooking they'd like to do. Some meal delivery services are reheat-and-eat, while others provide you with all of the ingredients you need to create a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen.
As these services have grown in popularity, the types of meals and plans has expanded as well. Has your doctor recently put you on a special diet, and you're not sure how to incorporate it into your lifestyle? Whether you're adapting to a diet that's low in carbs, diabetic-friendly, or even gluten-free, you'll find a meal delivery program that can help.
Are you interested in becoming a vegetarian but unfamiliar with how to create a balanced meal? Once again, there's a meal delivery service for that - use it for a few weeks to get ideas of lunches and dinners that you can recreate, or for as long as you like as you adapt to your clean, green way of eating.
As you consider which meal delivery service is best for you, you'll quickly see that they vary greatly when it comes to price, preparation, and types of food offered. Keep these criteria in mind as you decide which company fits your needs:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best meal delivery services available today. We hope these reviews help you find the service that puts the food that you're craving on the table right away!
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